The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
UC Davis Converts Waste Into Clean Energy With Nation's Largest Campus Biodigester
Trash isn't simply trash at the University of California, Davis, it's an important tool to create on clean energy.
The waste-to-power conversion takes place in a large, white tanks on campus, together known as the Renewable Energy Anaerobic Digester (READ). UC Davis unveiled the biodigester on Earth Day. Using UC Davis biological and agricultural engineering professor Ruihong Zhang's technology, the university collaborated with Gold River, CA-based CleanWorld to bring it to a commercial scale.
It's the nation's largest anaerobic biodigester on a college campus.
“It has been the thrust of my research to bring the innovations we made possible at UC Davis to commercial scale,” said Zhang, who began working on a way to create energy from organic waste more than a decade ago.
“This technology can change the way we manage our solid waste. It will allow us to be more economically and environmentally sustainable. I am proud and grateful to be a part of the team who helped make this moment a reality."
The biodigester is located at campus' now-closed landfill. The system uses generators to convert 50 tons of organic waste to 12,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of renewable electricity each day, diverting 20,000 tons of waste from local landfills each year. It is the third commercial biodigester CleanWorld has opened using Zhang’s technology. Zhang serves as the chief technology advisor for CleanWorld.
Inside the oxygen-deprived tanks, bacterial microbes convert the university's food and yard waste into clean energy that feeds the campus electrical grid. The biodigester creates 5.6 million kWh per year of electricity. It is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 13,500 tons per year. Making use of the former landfill location, the process uses the methane created from the waste to help convert the waste into renewable energy.
“The biodigester is the latest chapter in UC Davis’ world-renowned legacy of environmental sustainability,” said Linda P.B. Katehi, chancellor of UC Davis.
“This project stands as a model public-private partnership and demonstrates what can be achieved when research universities and private industry collaborate to address society’s most pressing challenges.”
YOU ALSO MIGHT LIKE
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Extreme weather events supercharged by climate change in 2012 led to nearly 1,000 more deaths, more than 20,000 additional hospitalizations, and cost the U.S. healthcare system $10 billion, a new report finds.
A Bay Area conservation group struck a deal to buy and to protect the world's largest remaining privately owned sequoia forest for $15.6 million. Now it needs to raise the money, according to CNN.
The Rugby World Cup starts Friday in Japan where Pacific Island teams from Samoa, Fiji and Tonga will face off against teams from industrialized nations. However, a new report from a UK-based NGO says that when the teams gather for the opening ceremony on Friday night and listen to the theme song "World In Union," the hypocrisy of climate injustice will take center stage.
By Wudan Yan
In June, New York Times journalist Andy Newman wrote an article titled, "If seeing the world helps ruin it, should we stay home?" In it, he raised the question of whether or not travel by plane, boat, or car—all of which contribute to climate change, rising sea levels, and melting glaciers—might pose a moral challenge to the responsibility that each of us has to not exacerbate the already catastrophic consequences of climate change. The premise of Newman's piece rests on his assertion that traveling "somewhere far away… is the biggest single action a private citizen can take to worsen climate change."
On Monday, Sept. 23, the Climate Group will kick off its 11th annual Climate Week NYC, a chance for governments, non-profits, businesses, communities and individuals to share possible solutions to the climate crisis while world leaders gather in the city for the UN Climate Action Summit.
By Pam Radtke Russell in New Orleans
Local TV weather forecasters have become foot soldiers in the war against climate misinformation. Over the past decade, a growing number of meteorologists and weathercasters have begun addressing the climate crisis either as part of their weather forecasts, or in separate, independent news reports to help their viewers understand what is happening and why it is important.